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Executive Cyber Security Master still on trend

Four years ago, the Institute of Security and Global Affairs (ISGA) first started with an executive master’s programme called Cyber Security. The programme proved to be a huge success and has continued to develop. This academic year, Els de Busser was appointed as Educational Director and Chantal de Groot was appointed as Study Coordinator. They are faced with the challenge of keeping the programme up-to-date and on trend in a fast and continuously changing discipline.

The multi-disciplinary approach and the type of students that enrol are what make the Cyber Security master so attractive, according to Educational Director Els de Busser. The executive master is a programme geared towards people who have already established their career, by enabling them to combine theory and work life reality. ‘The multi-disciplinary approach means the programme not only addresses technology but also, for instance, ‘governance’, issues in policy and administration. This is why the knowledge obtained in the programme can easily be translated in to work life reality.’ The master’s students work for a broad range of organisations: professionals from the commercial sector such as bankers and consultants, but also civil servants working for one of the ministries, the police force or the military. ‘They have formed a close-knit expertise network,’ De Busser adds.

A new generation behind the scenes

The Cyber Security master started in 2015 and was developed under the banner of the Cyber Security Academy. The programme takes place in The Hague and is organised by ISGA in collaboration with the Technical University Delft (TU Delft) and The Hague University of Applied Sciences (THUAS). Els de Busser: ‘Jan van den Berg, Professor Cyber Security founded the programme, and I’ve succeeded him at the beginning of this year. It is a huge challenge, but it is very energising to see all those enthusiastic students graduate each year.’

In March 2019, De Busser was joined by Study Coordinator Chantal de Groot. Together they form a new wave of programme management. The programme is a completely new experience for De Groot, she is used to working with regular students. ‘I come from a large programme, International Business Administration in Rotterdam. I look forward to having more direct contact with students but it will take some getting used to working with adults.’


An up-to-date curriculum

The new team – De Busser and De Groot are not the only new faces – is faced with the challenge of keeping the curriculum up-to-date. ‘The developments to do with security and the internet are happening at such a fast pace,’ explains De Busser. ‘Each day, new topics appear in the news, for instance the commotion about Facebook and Cambridge Analytica, online privacy or the fight against fake news. We incorporate all of this in our programme. But the attitude towards cyber security has also changed since I started working here: the ignorance has mostly vanished, it is no longer necessary to convince your manager about the need for cyber security.’

Cyber Security Academy

The Cyber Security Academy is a collaboration between Leiden University, TU Delft and THUAS. Each institute has developed something new for the Academy. The TU Delft has introduced the online ProfEd courses Cyber Security for Executives and THUAS has started the Master Cyber Security Engineering (in Dutch). The three knowledge institutions work together develop the curriculum.

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